Road Trip: New Zealand


New Zealand traffic sign kiwi crossing
Kiwi Crossing signs aren't really popular in the US for some reason…
Lesson #7: Know when your ass is getting pulled over
Speed limits are easy to understand.  Highways and rural areas are usually 100 kilometers per hour, which is about 62 miles per hour.  City streets are 50kph, or about 35mph.  Locals said keep it to no more than 10% over the speed limit and you shouldn't have a problem.  Though I don't think I saw any speed traps, NZ cops use radar on the roads as well as cameras with radar.  
The camera equipped cars and vans are typically white, red, or green Mitsubishis.  By law, rental car companies can deduct the police fine (as high as $850) from your credit card.  So while your ticket may not transfer to your license back home, it could be a sizeable whammy to your trip budget. Hopefully I don't find this charge appear on my credit card anytime soon…  Not sure how updated it is, but the NZ Toyota Supra MKIV group even published the locations of pole mounted speed cameras so if you have a lead foot, you might want to check this out before testing your luck.  Police vehicles are orange, blue, and white.  Highway patrol cars are yellow, blue, and white.  And they are some of the most obnoxious (read: visible) enforcement cars I've ever seen so you really can't miss them.  
Sheep in New Zealand
Oh Sheep!  Thousands just cling to vertical landscape but they're not the easiest things to snap a photo of at 100 kph.  This is the only photo mostly in focus.
Lesson #8: Get used to roundabouts
Luckily, my driving experiences in New Jersey have prepared me for jug handles (including a certain GPS that once directed me to basically do figure 8's to get to my location) but  going through them “bass-ackwards” for the first time is a little nerve-wracking.  When entering a roundabout, signal left if you're taking the first exit and signal right if you're traveling more than half the way around.  Don't signal when entering a roundabout if you plan to go straight but do signal left as you pass the exit before the one you wish to take.  Locals are somehow very adept at using their turn signals for all points of the roundabout- both when entering it and signaling when they're leaving it.  Become proficient quickly or you may be saying “hey kids, Big Ben! Parliament!”
A vehicle WTF moment in Auckland… seems to be some sort of French transport car but a quick Google search was fruitless.  

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